Austin police stop potential mass shooting after man allegedly brandishes gun, fires, in downtown Zilker Park

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An Austin man was arrested for allegedly firing a gun at multiple people in a downtown park following a Sunday drum circle earlier this month. 

Joel Louis Garcia, 34, was arrested days after the incident on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to jail records. 

The victims told police that they got to know Garcia through the weekly drum circle at Zilker Park, but he got upset when a female refused to hang out with him. Zilker Park is a sprawling 358-acre area featuring the Barton Springs pool, a botanical garden, and miles of hiking trails in downtown Austin. It is enjoyed by thousands every day.  

Joel Louis Garcia, 34, is facing two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. 

Joel Louis Garcia, 34, is facing two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. 
(Austin Police Department)

On June 12, Garcia allegedly approached the victims with a gun while they were standing in the parking lot, according to an affidavit obtained by Fox 7 Austin. 

He had a small .22 rifle with a sawed off stock and possibly a suppressor on the barrel, the affidavit said. 

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Garcia appeared intoxicated and was verbally aggressive, then allegedly fired a round that struck one of the victim’s cars when someone tried to calm him down, according to the affidavit. 

After that, Garcia allegedly approached another victim and attempted to “pistol whip” her, but she was able to dodge the attack. Some of the victims bolted on foot while others left in the car that had been struck by gunfire. 

The Austin skyline is reflected in downtown's Zilker Park. 

The Austin skyline is reflected in downtown’s Zilker Park. 
(Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)

Three days after the incident, the Austin Police Department received an anonymous tip that Garcia was planning a mass shooting at the next Sunday drum circle, according to the affidavit. 

He was arrested the day after police received that tip as he got off a bus near the park at Barton Springs Rd, according to KXAN. Officers found a gun in his bag when they arrested him. 

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Garcia is currently being held on a combined $60,000 bond. An attorney who could speak on his behalf was not listed in jail records. 

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